DAVID AND JONATHAN
AIX EN PROVENCE: Biblical tragedy in five acts with and a prologue
Libretto by Père François de Paule Bretonneau
Created on 28 February 1688 at the Collège Louis-le-Grand in Paris
|Musical direction||William Christie|
|Stage direction||Andreas Homoki|
|Set designer||Paul Zoller|
|Costumes designer||Gideon Davey|
|Light designer||Franck Evin|
|La Pythonisse (Witch of Endor)||Dominique Visse|
|Ghost of Samuel||Pierre Bessière|
|Chorus||Les Arts Florissants|
|Orchestra||Les Arts Florissants|
Production / Coproduction
Festival d’Aix-en-Provence new production
In coproduction with the Opéra Comique in Paris, the Théâtre de Caen and the Teatro Real in Madrid
6 performances between 6-19th July 2012.
“And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and Jonathan his son, and he said it should be taught to the people of Judah […]:
Ye mountains of Gilboa,
Let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you,
Nor fields of offerings:
For there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away,
The shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. […]
O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.
I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan:
Very pleasant hast thou been unto me:
Thy love to me was wonderful,
Passing the love of women.
How are the mighty fallen,
And the weapons of war perished!”
Old Testament, Samuel, Book 2, I, 17-27.
The Old Testament tells how the young David, victor over Goliath, calmed King Saul’s dreams with his psalms and how he developed a deep friendship with the King’s son. Inspired by this deep affection, Charpentier composed an opera for a boys’ school: David and Jonathan, a biblical tragedy which, beneath its edifying veneer, displays vibrant scenes that are as passionate as those of the great French lyric tragedy of the time. The opera freed the French composer from comparison with Lully, in whose shadow he remained while the latter was still alive. Since its premiere at the Louis-le-Grand Jesuit College in 1688 and its modern revival in 1981 at the Lyon Opera, David and Jonathan has been played in concert, recorded on a few occasions but rarely staged. William Christie, who already produced a seminal recording of the opera, will conduct the first staged version of Charpentier’s masterpiece at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence summer 2012.